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Chris Roberts Q&A: Playing Games

Editor’s Note: This week’s episode writer, Chris Roberts, answers our burning questions about… this episode:

Director Aaron Morton staring at the monitors

What inspired you when creating the new clone, Krystal Goderitch? And did Krystal change for you from your writing her to Tatiana’s performing her?

Chris Roberts: That’s sort of a chicken and the egg question. Krystal was conceived at the start of the season as the “Red Shirt” clone seen only in security footage in 301, who Scarface was going to do in, but when Tat started improv-ing the character on set, I think everyone fell in love with her, and we decided to bring her back for 308. We wanted to build on what Tat brought in that brief scene, and most importantly find new depths to her personality. We hit on the idea that this attack she’d undergone in 301 was still very present for her, and that it hadn’t just traumatized her, but set off all the deep-rooted suspicions borne of being a clone. Tat did a fantastic job letting those concerns bubble up through Krystal’s fun, glossy exterior.

If you were to get your nails done by Krystal, how exactly would you get your nails did?
CR: Bubblegum pink with little seahorse diamonds. Fun Fact: the director of 308 (and director of photography for Orphan in general) Aaron Morton actually went to Krystal’s nail salon to get a mani-pedi before the shoot so he would know what was involved. Very dedicated.

The unlikely friendship that forms between Donnie and Helena is SO MUCH FUN. But there are a lot of unlikely pairings in this episode: Gracie with the Hendrixes; Mrs. S and Delphine sharing screen time; Felix as a straight man; Rachel-as-ally. Can you speak to the creation of these pairings, and how the “fish out of water” combinations inspired or hindered you?
CR: Donnie and Helena’s sweet little arc was Graeme’s idea and I think it works beautifully. I’ve wanted to put Mrs. S and Delphine together since last season, because I think those two consider themselves the adults and the guardians of their children, and I really wanted to see what these two chieftains would do to protect their people. Of course, Rachel and Sarah having to work together was the heart of the episode when we conceived it. It’s great to see that seething resentment from both of them and maybe even feel a little sorry for Rachel… until we find out she pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes, of course.

If you could write one other “odd pairing” that we haven’t seen to date, who would you want to see share a scene together?
CR: Krystal and Vic.

Seeing into Scott’s personal life was a gas. How did the creation and construction of Scott’s apartment help inform his character, whether in writing his scenes, or in watching the actor (Josh Vokey) perform them?
CR: Josh is great. He’s a super-professional actor and he always brings his A-game. We spent time walking through Scott’s place before the shoot and it was just Nerd Heaven. I think it really gave us a handle on a guy who’s interested a million different things at once. Of course, his board game obsession was heavily influenced by John Fawcett, who’s a board game fanatic (and had very specific notes on which games went where…)

Between Scott, Hellwizard, and Painmaker, whose team would you want to play on during a Saturday night gaming session, and what board game would you want to play?
CR: I’d love to try Rune Wars with Scott. Unless Cosima’s playing, then I’d just give up to spare myself humiliation.

The creation of the “puzzle” (and the visual code system) was a challenging and interesting process. Can you speak to the rhyming clue that you wrote, and how such a small element shifted the direction our Clone Club was headed?
CR: Graeme really wanted the clue from the book to be something whimsical and surprising, and I thought: if this book was written to Rachel by her father, it would be to the Rachel he remembers when he left—a seven-year-old girl. So a nursery rhyme seemed natural. I actually came up with it on the bus on the way to work after spending some time studying limericks and different kinds of verse. The key code system needed to make text work in a cool and visually interesting way, so I came up with a system where the scratched-out letters themselves formed a coded language, so that the symbols would emerge from the page as Rachel deciphered them. It gives us that “it was right in front of us!” moment that so many of my favorite puzzles have.

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